New AAA campaign calls on drivers to put down cell phones

(Brody O'Connell | WBTV)
(Brody O'Connell | WBTV)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - AAA Carolinas is announcing a campaign that encourages drivers to stay of their cell phones while driving.

"AAA's latest research into cognitive distractions has shown that using a cell phone while driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving," AAA spokeswoman, Tiffany Wright said.

The announcement comes in the midst of the "100 Deadliest Days" for teens—the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day when teen crash deaths historically climb.

According to AAA, cell phone use accounts for more than 2,500 motor vehicle deaths each year.

AAA Carolinas will have the message "Life Has No Redial, Stay off the Phone" on the sides of delivery trucks traveling through the highest populated cities in North Carolina and South Carolina.

Wednesday, Tammy Garlock was at AAA's campaign kick-off. Her son, Brian, was killed in a car crash in 2008. Garlock says her son was attempting to make a call when he pulled into oncoming traffic.

"It is every parent's worst nightmare, Garlock said. "And I am living every parent's worst nightmare."

Garlock wants others to learn from her tragedy. "Think, you know, take the extra second to think about, you know, when I am on 485 is that really the time to try and read a text message or dial a number?"

Divers in the Carolinas will be seeing AAA's campaign messages posted all around the two states.

"The message will also be at gas pumps and in the windows of gas stations in all of the metropolitan cities throughout the Carolinas," Wright said.

It's projected that the message could reach nearly 10 million drivers, as families from all over the country travel though the Carolinas, during the summer driving months.

AAA officials said the goal is to let motorists know that putting the phone away while driving can significantly reduce crashes, and hopefully save lives.

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